Ask 411 Wrestling 02.17.10: Sexy Boy's Singer, Marvel's WCW, and Wrestling's Artifacts!
Posted by Mathew Sforcina on 02.17.2010
When did Shawn Michaels become the Heart Break Kid? What happened to JT Southern? Why did Tommy Rich get a title 'run'? Who was Sgt. Krueger? Should Australia have it's own NWA? And who got screwed out of a WWF Title Run? All this, plus more moreness, inside!
Welcome to the only Wrestling column written by a Wrestler approved of by Adam Hills, Ask 411 Wrestling!
I am Mathew Sforcina, and I'm writing this quite late, even for me. Not that it matters to you reading this, although the later I start, the more likely I am to include badly chosen words that turn the comments section into a warzone about such silly things as religion or health care, as opposed to the important stuff, like Pro Wrestling and such.
Well, enough stalling-
GO READ MY STUFF IN 411GAMES!
- and enough advertising. Let's have a little more.
If you don't sign up, Hornswoggle gets another title reign.
Jericho V Angle: Yes, the Jericho/Angle match was for the IC title, and I forgot the UK only one, my bad.
Everything else was mistyping or opinion (apart from NWA in Australia, which comes up later), so let's move on.
Your Turn, Smart Guy…
Who am I? I've been affiliated with all time greats in the sport like Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson and Randy Savage. I'm a two sport superstar, successful in both Pro Wrestling and at least one other sport. A proud American, I've defended America's virtue and pride on Japanese soil and against Japanese invaders on my own home soil on several occasions, despite not, technically, being American. A former Pro Wrestling Illustrated rookie of the year, I am who?
The correct response to this question is Madusa Miceli.
Who am I? A man who's held over 60 titles in his career, I've wrestled some of the biggest names in the sport, Goldberg, Jericho, Inoki, RVD, many more. I've been in some memorable tag teams, but only holding gold with 3 of his many partners. I've had some Wrestlecrap worthy gimmicks and/or moments, but I've also saved some moments thanks to my comedic skills. A former King, I am Who?
Questions, Questions, Who's Got The Questions?
Mike F gets to go first because he's a triple threat.
Just a quick thumbs up on a great job every week. Your column has been a Wednesday ritual for ages, I really appreciate the inside perspective you bring on the business that you probably just couldn't get as a fan.
Wearing the triple crown of nerdom that I do being a fan of wrestling, comics and pen and paper role playing games I thought I would hit you up with a question on each.
1) Back in the early 90s I believe Marvel Comics published a WCW comic book. Can you tell me any information on how long this ran for, who was involved and whether the book had any relationship at all with the main WCW wrestling product.
The Marvel WCW line (sadly lacking in WCW/Marvel cross overs) were written in 1992-93, with 12 issues in total. The comics were meant to feel like your average episode of WCW Saturday Night in comic form, although author Mike Lackey invented a central bad guy, ‘The Ghoul', who was manipulating things behind the scenes to stop Sting from winning the WCW World Title.
The comics did have some connection to the main show, when Lex Luger left WCW midway through the series Mike had to hastily re-write the 4th comic to remove Lex, who had been the WCW Champion, and further re-write the series to introduce new enemies in the Dangerous Alliance. Apart from having to remove characters, there didn't seem to be much control or input from WCW. I mean, if there was, do you think they would have had the main storyline be a rip off of the Black Scorpion?
I could go on about it, but I'm always willing to bow to superior wisdom, so I direct you to this excellent look at a few of the issues. It's mostly written for non-wrestling fans, but it's still a good recap.
2) A few years later during the wrestling boom I remember seeing at least one WWF(E) role playing game, but can't remember anything about it. Do you know who published it and did how it worked? Did it assume you were a new WWF talent trying to work your way through the ranks
Well, there's at least two. I found this obscure basic game set that was published in 1993. The second and more well known one (which is itself something of a stretch) is Know Your Role, which has been around for several years, being first printed when it was WWF (with Rock on the cover) and then updated into WWE (with Angle and Hardcore Holly on the cover). It was published by Comic Arts, and was a d20 system using the OGL.
Although it had storyline parts, the game was mostly based around in ring combat. You created your character based around different wrestling styles, choosing skills and such (you might get a bonus damage modifier if your move involves a steel chair, or you might have higher defence against top rope moves, stuff like that), and then would spend most of your time in the ring, wrestling. You had some outside stuff, sure, but most of the game was based around wrestling, funnily enough.
I didn't get to play it much (it was still beta when I fiddled with it), but as a fan, it was kinda cool. Like an e-fed but with control over the matches. If you got some friends into both, give it a shot. If you can find the damm thing.
Mike will be back later, but now here is Joshua.
First, a question...Jeff Jarrett has been using the loaded guitar-shot since his days as an evil country singer despite leaving that gimmick behind many years ago. You could argue that since his team with Owen Hart, he hasn't been referenced as a musician at all, but the guitar-shots remain. Has anyone else kept a remnant of past characters (props, finishers, catch-phrases) as long as J-A-double F, J-A-double R-E-doubleT?
Well, Triple H has the Pedigree, long after that name makes any sense. Shawn Michaels' music is somewhat antiquated. You could argue Sting's facepaint fits, but that's somewhat borderline. Off the top of my head, those are the main candidates to fight for the title of ‘Wrestling's Biggest Artifact. Taker is unique enough that he doesn't count.
Charles asks one of those questions that's practically impossible to answer with any authority.
I don't think I've ever seen this asked so here goes. What is the history of wrestlers fighting outside the ring and the origin of the 10 count? I would assume that back in the old days, they stuck mainly to inside the ring but now it seems obviously common for wrestlers to go at it outside. Thanks.
Well, wrestlers were getting counted out back in 1963 (one of Buddy Rogers' first defences against Bruno Sammartino was a 2 out of 3 falls match that saw Bruno win the last fall by count out and thus not win the title). And Texas Death matches were around then too, so brawling wasn't unheard of.
Now true, most older matches see the wrestlers stick to the ring more, but it wasn't like wrestlers ignored the ringside area totally. It's just that brawls outside tended to be when heels kept going to the outside to recover, or in huge wild matches that ended feuds.
The 10 count has been part of the sport since it began, and as soon as people started to fix the matches, it became a tool to work the fans.
Alfred asks about debut wins.
Love the weekly history leeson by the way.
But I was wondering how many people made debuts and won titles in them? I can only think of Gail Kim and Carlito of the top of my head. Can you help me out Matt?
Well, let's see, people winning a title in their first official match for the company…
Carlito: WWE US Title (and the IC one on his Raw debut)
Christian: WWE Light Heavyweight Title
Gail Kim: WWE Women's Championship
Hulk Hogan: WCW World Title
Jerry Lynn: WWE Light Heavyweight Title
Ken Shamrock: NWA-TNA World Title
Mike Awesome: WWE Hardcore Title
Santino Marella: WWE Intercontinental Title
Ted DiBiase Jr.: World Tag Team Title
The Giant: WCW World Title
But I just know I've forgotten people, and I know the comments section will point them out, so next week we should have a full list.
Brett has a couple questions.
Hi there - I have a few more questions I was hoping you could answer for me:
Firstly, I was watching some early 90's WCW recently and 2 questions came to mind. 1.) Whatever happened to Van Hammer's guitar playing nemesis JT Southern?
JT Southern was the original blonde, guitar playing nemesis for WCW's favourite guitar playing fan favourite, Van Hammer. In 92, he was brought in and given a bit of a push. His look and promos were good, but his in ring work was sub-par. Eventually, as the feud stalled out, he brought in a ‘friend', Scotty Flamingo, today known as Raven. The two started as a duo, but JT quickly faded into becoming a manager, as he got fewer and fewer matches, most of them losses to Hammer. Southern then became Flamingo's manager, he'd play Scotty to the ring, stay there, and maybe interfere.
Eventually, WCW noticed that Flamingo was good on his own, and Southern got fired. He went to Japan, and tried his hand at UWF International, a Wrestling/Kickboxing hybrid company, that was predetermined but very very hard hitting. And that… didn't work out well for him.
He's now into racing bikes, and is apparently doing an OK job at it.
2.) Also, in the Pat O'Connor Tag Team Tournament the Steiner Brothers faced the, ahem, "South African" team of Sgt Krueger and Col. DeKlerk. I know Deklerk was Ted Petty but who was Sgt. Krueger?
Sgt. Krueger was played by Ray Apollo. That is fairly well accepted.
Slightly less well accepted is that Ray's real name is Ray Liccachelli, which then puts him as one of the Doink The Clowns in WWF. Ray Liccachelli played Doink for most of his face run with Dink.
So an obscure name, and possibly his only other claim to fame is being Face Doink. There you go.
And secondly, I am a bit confused about a couple of names from wrestling's past. I notice when Roddy Piper and Ric Flair are interviewed (others too but I seem to see it more often with them) they call Don Owen and Whaoo McDaniel plural names as in Wahoo McdanielS and Don OwenS. Are they just mispronouncing their names or have I been misinformed all these years?
Thanks for all your help!
Well, let's have a listen.
Yes indeed, he does say ‘Wahoo McDaniels' there. So, what's going on? Well, yes, they are mispronouncing their names. It's Wahoo McDaniel, not McDaniels. Same with Don Owen, it's not Owens. Piper can't even get the name right when he's there in tribute to the man!
So, what is going on? I can't give you an exact reason, but you have to admit, McDaniel… It doesn't sound right. It's a little… off, especially for a wrestling name. Wahoo McDaniels rolls a bit better. Same with Don Owens. It's not a good excuse, sure, but when you're cutting promos all the time, you may tend to slip into using a name that rolls off the tongue better.
Or it's some sort of elaborate in-joke that no-one else knows about.
Next up is Josh.
Do you think wrestlers watch their rival promotions PPVs? I could see TNA's Mick Foley getting a WWE PPV since he spent so much time there and might want to watch his friends wrestle. Do you think younger talent like Styles, Daniels, Morrison and Miz would watch the rival promotion PPV to see what the other side is doing? What about Dixie Carter or Vince McMahon?
I know wrestlers watch their competition. You often see spots lifted from rival companies (Christian/RVD/Jericho using a tower of doom spot like 2 weeks after it was done on a TNA PPV, for instance), and in the past wrestlers have discussed watching their competitors (Foley's story about hearing the Butts in the Seats comments). Of course, it's not so much scouting the enemy as it is that Wrestlers tend to be wrestling fans, and thus watch wrestling, funnily enough.
Dixie and Vince, on the other hand, probably not. They are too busy running the company to watch their competitor's TV, but I'm sure they get recaps and if they ask for a match or to see a wrestler in action they'll get given a copy by their subordinates.
Karthik asks about an early worked shoot.
In one of the episodes of WCW, Ric Flair was doing some promo during which he sort of has a heart attack or something and is taken out in a stretcher. Later during the night Eric Bischoff comes out and gives a face like speech about how wrestling professionals put everything on the line to entertains the fans or something like that (obviously hinting about Ric Flair). I was confused by this because Eric was a heel at this time and was feuding with Ric. So my question is was Ric's heart attack real or staged? Either way why did Eric kind of broke kayfabe and what were they expecting to come out of it as the very next episode Eric was again back to his heelish acts.
This is one of those worked shoots deals, where they tried to make it seem real to get attention. But they quickly dropped it. The official story is that Flair was poisoned, and that caused the attack, and that Bischoff poisoned him.
Of course, the cynical types will say that this was part of Bischoff burying Flair because Flair was old and such and should leave. But I would never say that…
The Ultimate Warrior confesses!
Michael asks some questions, but then that's obvious since he's in here, right?
1)Was wondering if any of the following wrestlers were supposed to have world title runs while with the WWF/E or, if not, if they were ever even considered: Jimmy Snuka, Ahmed Johnson, Rick Rude, vader and Mr.Perfect.
I've heard rumors of Vader beating HBK at Summerslam but HBK vetoed it and Hogan wouldn't drop the title to Perfect. Are those rumors true??
Jimmy Snuka: Snuka was one of the options Vince had on the backburner if Hogan had not caught on/quit/been hit by a chance meteorite. Vince was set to push SOMEONE into the International scene, he was hell bent on making someone a Superstar. He wanted Hogan, but it he had to, he would have made do with Snuka. Or even JYD if he had to.
Ahmed Johnson: Eventually, yes. It was clear that Vince and the WWF loved the guy, and had he been able to remain uninjured for an extended period of time, a Title run seems likely. But there was never an immediate, he's gonna win the title on the next PPV situation.
Rick Rude: No. Rude was seen as a good talent, and a great workhorse, but it was never in the cards as were dealt in the WWF. Maybe if his comeback was spectacular, perhaps, but it was never truly discussed.
Vader: Yes, from all accounts, Vader was originally scheduled to win the WWF World Title at Summerslam 96 off Shawn. As was Mick Foley at Mind Games. But for whatever reasons, be it because they weren't over enough, or something else *cough* these got changed.
Mr. Perfect: Yes, but it wasn't Hogan's power that ruined it. The WWF knew Hogan was leaving. They had decided that Warrior, as the best option available, would win the title at Wrestlemania VI. And Perfect was then decided to be the guy to transition the belt between the two. He was over, he could work, and it would give everyone the heel/face dynamic. So they built to Hogan/Perfect. And it didn't work. The fanbase wasn't buzzing about how Perfect might do it, that this was the biggest challenge Hogan had to face. Then, when Hogan/Perfect didn't sell out MSG, they panicked, and then Pat Patterson suggested Hogan drop the belt to Warrior himself. And thus Perfect missed out.
2) During the 80's were promotions hesitant to give their world titles to black wrestlers? I remember JYD being crazy popular in the early 80's and Tony Atlas being popular also so you would think they would have made respectable champs just from a positive fan reaction alone if not on athletic ability.
Well, at least one guy wasn't. ‘Cowboy' Bill Watts was renowned for building around a black champion. So there was at least one.
But I don't think there was any sort of hesitation or anything, it's just that it didn't work out for the major companies. Hulkamania ruled the WWF, and WCW… Well, apart from when Bill Watts ran it, it just didn't happen. But I doubt that race played a part in that.
3) I remember Hogan saying that Andre was supposed to win the title from him at Wrestlemania III. is this true? I can't believe Vince would pull the title off of Hogan at the most hyped ppv in history, in front of a record crowd, when Hogan was still at the height of his popularity. Especially back then when Vince wasn't nearly as likely to pull off a swerve like he is now.
Thank you sir!!
That's the first I've ever heard of Andre winning at Wrestlemania. And yeah, it makes no sense, and it wasn't going to happen. Although WWF did try and make you think it would (Why would they make him a belt if he wasn't going to win?), it was, to the best of my knowledge, never a possibility. And Hogan has been known to, uh, be ‘flexible' with the truth…
pjl32 asks about old school title changes.
back in the old days, what was the point of the major feds switching their titles for only a few days. i always wondered why tommy rich got a week reign years ago. Thanks
Well, there's two issues here.
The general logic behind swift title changes is to make the fans think that the title could change hands at ANY show. If there's a show nearby, then we should go, we might see a title change! They could happen at any time! When the title would go between the same two guys, it gave you added interest and kept the belt on the guy you wanted as champion. Also, it was often a case of wanting to give the region a win, so you put over the hometown boy, then he loses it back when the visiting star is about to leave.
Now ‘Wildfire' Tommy Rich's NWA title win, on the other hand, has several stories floating about. Some, including Michael Hayes, believe it was a screwjob, that the promoter told the ref to count fast. But looking at the tape, it doesn't seem fast.
The common held belief at the time was that Race wanted to give the rub to Rich, so he'd be considered a title contender, while again making it seem like the title could change hands at any time.
But Race himself has said that the title switch was the result of a power struggle. Jim Barnett, former promoter of Australia's WCW and the then minority owner of Georgia, pushed for and got the quick switch to increase fans and ticket sales in his own region, thus consolidating his power and keeping himself firmly entrenched.
It's probably a mixture of all of the above, plus more, but if I had to pick one story, I'd tend to believe Harley Race since he was there and all.
Paul gets a bye because I'm feeling generous.
Hello Mr. Byers,
Great read and very informative each week. Am I dreaming or something on this: Was Bam Bam Bigelow one of the if not the top face in the WWF/WWE circa the mid-to late '90s? I was barely watching at the time and recall seeing some fued he was in vs Ted DiBiase and his Corporation? Thanks.
Well, yes and no.
Bigelow was in the WWF from late 1992 through to late 1995. He began as a heel, hooking up with Luna before joining the Million Dollar Corporation. Then, after losing to Lawrence Taylor at Wrestlemania XI, he turned face when the Corporation got upset at his loss. This did get him something of a push as he feuded with the Corporation, teaming with World Champ Diesel to defeat Tatanka and Sid at the 95 King Of The Ring.
But shortly after that he was gone. And he wasn't really a top face, although he was high up. Of course, the reasons for him leaving are cloudy, as the consensus is that he was promised a big push and title run in exchange for losing to Taylor, and then the Clique short circuited that.
And finally, we discuss everyone's favourite slow burning heel turn awaiting superstar, Shawn Michaels, thanks to Simon!
I have a couple of questions regarding Shawn Michaels during his post Rocker stages.
When did he start his HBK gimmick? Was it straight after the heel turn? On a Shawn Michaels DVD I have watched I remember seeing a heel Michaels wearing his Rockers outfit. Did he continue to wear this after this heel turn if so when did he start wearing the white with black/red tights and start the HBK character and where did Sheri enter and exit?
Well, Shawn threw Marty through the window on Dec. 3rd 1991. Of course, due to the taping schedule, they had several matches after this event where they teamed up for the rest of the year. Apart from some matches for co-produced WWF/SWS shows in Japan, Shawn Michaels' first match after tossing Marty through the window was the 1992 Royal Rumble, and he's wearing a sort of halfway gear, it's somewhat Rocker-ish, but showing signs of the Heart Break Kid character, although it was black and white. The next time he stepped into the ring, practically, he was with Sherri, and the HBK character was officially underway. Early 1992 Sherri entered, then when Marty Jannetty returned in late October, and tried to smash Shawn with a mirror, hitting Sherri instead. Sherri would then side with Marty since he apologized, and was in his corner at the Royal Rumble, despite Shawn saying that she would be in his corner. After the Rumble, when Marty got fired, she was done with Shawn.
Was his music always sexy boy straight away or did he have another theme when he first turned, also when did it change to Shawn singing and why?
Yes, as soon as Shawn had turned and began to wrestle as a heel, they had new music, Sexy Boy sung by Sherri. He used this for the whole year, switching to the version he uses now, where he sings it, on the 13th of Feb, 1993 edition of WWF Mania, filmed on Jan 25.
Why did he stop most of his high flying stuff after the left the Rockers? It might be my memory but I dont recall any high flying stuff until a few years after. Was it just to sell him as a heel or am I wrong and did he continue.
It was him learning to work as a heel. He had a character in mind, and he didn't want the fans to cheer for him, so he totally toned down the high flying stuff until he was over enough to use it without the fans liking him for it.
My Damm Opinion
Mike F returns.
3) Lastly and this is probably an opiniion question, you have talked a bit about the Australian industry in a few colums and specifically about the failure of an Australian brand of the NWA. Do you think there would be any benefit to bringing together all the dozens of small time Australian promotions under the banner of an NWA-style union?
From my point of view the companies combining forces on promoting and marketting their shows could potential help the entire industry get more exposure and maybe even increase links with Japan, which is really not that far away in travel terms.
Thanks and keep up the great work
First off, I wasn't aware of EPA hooking up with the NWA, my apologies about that. To be fair though, it hasn't been widely circulated down here in the business, at least on the east coast.
Now, as to the question at hand... This may make me somewhat unpopular down here, but I think most people realise what I'm about to say is true, so let's risk it.
An Australian NWA type organisation will never happen, and isn't required. The Australian wrestling scene is not that huge, in that there's fans out there, but they seem content to just turn up when the WWE flies down and that's it. Most fans don't attend local wrestling, even though it's cheaper and in some ways better. Some companies get decent crowds at times, but there is no company doing great show in, show out. This seems like a pitch for a company, but the thing is that there isn't anything the company could do. It's not a talent issue, it's an awareness issue and seemingly an apathy issue. A governing body isn't going to be able to do anything that any one company could do by itself.
But, more importantly, there are several egos in the business down here, just like in any wrestling scene. But due to bad blood and other issues, several people will not work with others, no matter what. Suffice to say that there is NO way that every company down here would agree to join on.
And the AWF already has links to Dragon's Gate, so it's not like Japanese wrestlers never come down here.
This is somewhat pessimistic, sure, but I just don't see it happening. But hey, I'd be happy to be proved wrong on this one. If the local business improves, and people can swallow their pride, then it could work, but without a good audience to manage and the pick of the talent, it's pointless.
Joshua also returns!
I'm sure NXT will have debuted by the time this is answered, and we will all be aware of what Vince's vision is...but I want to see what you think of my idea. Using UFC's TUF as a basic structure (which it seems NXT will do), I like the idea of young wrestlers competing for a shot on the main roster, and using a hidden-camera, confessional type setup to flesh out the characters is a good idea. My thought would be making the wrestlers stay in character in and out of the ring. This would help make them "own" their characters and make them appear more dimensional to the viewers and, more importantly, the live audience once they make the leap. I can't help but think Scotty Goldman would get a better reaction if fans saw a little "Boom Boom" in him before throwing him out to job. Your opinion, Sir?
It's not bad. I don't believe that's what's gonna happen (what I've heard is more documentary than reality TV), but if this did happen you know a lot of people would be upset that they don't drop the character out of the ring, just like if they did drop it other people would hate them for that.
But yeah, that could work. Won't happen, but it could work.
Charlie L asks a half opinion/half fact one, and gets to finish us off this week.
Awesome Column man, You Are Tha' Fucking MAN!!!
A fellow fan of your section, wrote in a question last week, regarding the status of MVP. Asking, is you prefer him as a face or a heel? Witch made me think of the following question:
What wrestlers do you think where Mega Great faces, but when they where turn they made Mega shitty heel's & vice versa? Example; Mike Awesome, was a Mega destructive sadistic Heel, but was turn to a Wimp as a face… and Why do they (Booker's) do such things?...
Why do bookers do it? Because they have to. There is only so long you can run someone in one role. And if you don't want to lose them, then you have to do something with them. And a turn is the way to go. Yes, once it's clear that they suck at the role you should consider turning them back, but bookers often get blindsided by crowd reactions.
The prototype for terrible heels would be Sting. Which is weird, because I actually quite like Sting's heel work, but he clearly feels so uncomfortable doing it.
Terrible faces are much more plentiful, but my pick for worst of the worst when they make great heels would be Yokozuna. He just didn't work as a face.
But those are just my picks. Who do you guys think? Let's have a vote, and declare the two losers next week!